New Livin' Large Review

Thursday, October 26, 2000 - 23:00

ESCmag's reviewer got a real kick out of Livin' Large. "The new items are very well designed, and the Grim Reaper alone is worth the price of admission." Check it out!

Go To ESCmag Review

Review by Erich Becker
October 12, 2000

[Note: This review directly ties into my review for The Sims]

The Sims Livin' LargeComing around the last corner before my house, I still have the images of last night in my head. What really did happen? Images are flashing through my mind and showing me abstract memories, or are they suppressed urges? I see a zombie of Bob walking around his front yard. I know this can’t be true; he died a few days ago after locking himself in his tool-shed and having the door disappear. I walk into my house and there is my Servo cleaning up this morning’s mess from breakfast. Upon entering my room I see my magical lamp on the nightstand. Giving it a little rub, my genie, called Herb, tries to grant my wish only, to my surprise, my kitchen explodes into a fiery ball of consumables. Oh what have I done to deserve this … oh wait, my voodoo doll collection. Problem solved!

Welcome back to The Sims. The residents have been waiting for you to return. They have added more lots for you to build on, brought in hundreds upon hundreds of new items for you to spend your hard-earned cash on, and new technological advancements are being made all the time. Plus, as always, new jobs await.

I won’t sit here and tell you about all the details of how to play The Sims, or what makes it one of this year’s best games. We have a review for that. I will tell you why you must own this expansion pack, and why you need to find the nearest retailer and drive there immediately after reading this piece.

Livin’ Large starts just where you left off with The Sims. The add-on installation went without a hitch, and I was off to explore what was new in my virtual world. Upon entering the neighborhood screen, you notice all of your previous houses are intact, except there is now a way for you to switch between Livin’ Large’s five different neighborhoods. Yes, now you can have up to five unique neighborhoods with different houses and people in each. This really expands the replayability of the game by giving you the chance to create tons and tons of different families to interact with.

The Sims Livin' LargeIn all, there are more than 125 new items added to The Sims to enhance your game playing experience. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Your Sims can now be abducted by aliens.
  • Leaving your house dirty can now cause roaches to appear and infest your home.
  • Sims now have access to a personality-altering chemistry set, and can also create an evil twin of themselves (think Army of Darkness).
  • Need to see the future? What could be a better tool than a fortune-telling crystal ball?
  • "I’m a genie in a bottle baby, come and rub me the right way!" No, a pretty pop singer does not appear in the middle of your living room — a real live Genie straight from fairytales appears and can grant your wishes. The only catch is the Genie must still be in "Wishing School" because more times than I can count, my stove exploded.
  • Holiday decorations are now available to show that special Hallmark-inspired spirit.
  • Finally, the best addition to the game would have to be the Grim Reaper. If more than one Sim inhabits your house, and one dies, the Grim Reaper appears and the living Sim must plead for the others life. The Sim could live, die or be reincarnated as a zombie to make things more interesting. This gives some of the more "macabre" players a little something extra to fool around with.

The Sims Livin' LargeThe new items are very well designed, and the Grim Reaper alone is worth the price of admission. Now, it’s time for your Sim to earn the money to buy these crazy gifts for his/her self. How do five new career tracks sound? For a total of 50 new jobs, there are now five new tracks to explore:

  • Musician — subway musician, piano tuner, wedding singer (!), rock star.
  • Slacker — golf caddy, convenience store clerk, lifeguard.
  • Paranormal — tarot card reader, UFO investigator.
  • Journalism — game reviewer (a personal favorite), weatherman, talk show host.
  • Hacker — beta tester, game designer, programmer.

The Sims Livin' LargeAs you can see, the new career tracks can hit close to home, or on another planet. Speaking of closer to home, what can be done to your pad in the expansion pack? A lot.

  • The castle building set lets you create a house of stonewalls, arrow slotted windows, and a giant, pointy fence guarding your property from outsiders as you explore the depths of your chemistry set.
  • The Ladies’ Man Pad will have your carpet decked out in leopard skin, your furniture and other fixtures screaming unmarried, hopeless bachelor.
  • The Retro Home takes its cues from what people in the ‘50s thought the world would look like. Complete with boomerang windows, and automatic sliding doors, the retro home has it all.

For someone who rated the original game a perfect 10 here at ESCmag, I feel that the add-on is worth the money. The Sims should have a Surgeon General’s warning on the front of the box (and a warning about that loser clown). Some people see this game as a cash-in on Maxis’ part because 2 million owners of the game can’t be wrong. In the end, it is a little of both. There is nothing dramatically different in Livin’ Large that you might not be able to find on the Internet in a few months, or already can. Still, not everyone has an Internet connection capable of downloading almost 250 MB of enhancements. Fans of the original will be impressed, but this isn’t the game to introduce someone to the Sims. Play the original, then play Livin’ Large.

In the end, The Sims: Livin’ Large, has the right to bear the name of Sim on the box, and is a worthy successor to the original game

Minimum Requirements:
PC: Original install of The Sims; Pentium 233 MHz; 32 MB RAM; quad-speed CD-ROM; 175 MB hard drive space.

MAC: Original install of The Sims; Mac OS 8.1 or higher; G3 233 MHz or higher (incl. iMac and PowerBook G3); 2 to 4 MB VRAM; 175 MB hard drive space; 8X or faster CD-ROM; 64 MB RAM; 800x600 at Thousands of Colors; QuickTime 4.0 or higher (included)


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